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Dear Uncle Mat 

I’ve been unemployed for over a year now. I’m currently living above my parents’ garage, and working at a local store to pay my basic living costs like phone bill, car insurance, and food. It’s kind of like I’m 17 again, but the setup is less attractive a decade later. The bigger problem is, there is no work in my field in San Antonio, but I can’t afford to live anywhere else until I have a job. My parents are really cool and supportive: They feed me dinner any night I am home, and have tried to fix me up on a date with every single girl they know in the neighborhood or through friends. But the part where I live above their garage working as a store clerk at a geek shop isn’t exactly making these girls swoon.

I’m stuck here, and I’m not sure how to get out. The downside to my parents loving me being home … is just that. I don’t think they mind if I live above the garage and eat their food forever. While I’m not prone to depression, and have a fairly positive outlook on life, I’m lost here. I have no idea what I should do next. I already have a graduate degree and am not sure what I would study if I went back to school. I feel like I’m falling further into a hole every day. The store I work at has offered me the opportunity to be a manager, and I have nothing against a retail job, but I don’t feel it is the career for me. So my question is simply, what do I do now?


Going Nowhere

Dear Nowhere,

Have you thought about being a gigolo? How do you feel about older wealthy women? You could find yourself a nice sugar mama to take care of you. If you’re under thirty and cute, there is still time. You’re well educated, so that could take you far in the field. I’m just saying.

You said you are not prone to depression, but that description of falling deeper into a hole every day kind of sounds a little depressing. Don’t panic about this, but make sure you are taking care of yourself. Eat right and exercise. Engage in hobbies or activities that you enjoy.

On that note, what do you like to do that isn’t your old job and isn’t working in a geek store? Maybe one of your hobbies or extracurricular activities could be a career path. Do you work out or enjoy sports? Maybe you could become certified to be a personal trainer?

You could also look for work in a comparable field to what you used to do. A Master’s degree should make you fairly employable in more than one field. When you look at the want ads, look at everything, not just your specific career. You might be surprised how many job descriptions fit your experience and education.

Put your resume on some national search engines and look around in other cities as well. If you have specialized skills, you might find an employer willing to relocate you or at least hire from out of town. You won’t find a job somewhere else if you don’t look for it.

An open mind will be your best asset at this juncture in your life. Stop looking at the problems and start exploring all the solutions. Every moment has the potential to be an opportunity. Your life has hit the reset button. It’s like a midlife crisis a couple decades early. This could be the best thing that ever happened to you. Your sugary upbeat attitude and hindsight will help you rationalize that out later.

In the meantime, accept the manager position and start saving some money. It could take another year to find a new job or path and there is no reason not to take advantage of the resources and opportunities at hand. Accepting the promotion does not commit you to a permanent career. Your commitment to excel and not sit by and drift should be attractive to potential employers.

Your life is pretty awesome. Free home cooked meals and a parking space! It may feel like nowhere, but you’ve got potential.

Much love, work, and hope,

Your Uncle Mat

Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets and art. Email him at,, or check out the Dear Uncle Mat Page on Facebook. Your true identity is safe with him.

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